As the leaves begin to fall and the temperatures start to drop, it’s important to prioritise your health and well-being.
During this busy period of seasonal celebrations such as Halloween and Bonfire night, along with the school half-term, is easy to forget the smaller things. But by thinking ahead and re-stocking medicine cabinets, creating a winter first aid kit, and knowing the right places to go for treatments for minor illnesses, people can make sure they are well-prepared for the colder months. And with the handy use of advice via the NHS 111 online or telephone services, you don’t even need to leave the house! Find lots of information over on our dedicated webpage: www.gmintegratedcare.org.uk/GTKWTG.
Parents of young children can also find help to stay safe and healthy this winter with our handy online guide that can be downloaded at www.gmintegratedcare.org.uk/3-steps-to-keep-healthy. The booklet is packed full of tips and information on how to keep little ones healthy, what to do if they become unwell, and the best place to go for expert advice and help.
The shorter days and colder weather can impact our well-being and for those who may be living with loneliness or experiencing social isolation, such as vulnerable or elderly people, or people dealing with a bereavement, darker days can lead to you feeling that you may need additional help and support. It’s important to look after yourself and others – and remember that support is available to those how who may need it.
Finally, with many facing the challenge of rising costs this winter, people are also reminded of where to go if they need support with accessing a foodbank, along with financial advice. It’s also important to remember that people who live with a long-term condition may be able to save money on prescriptions. If you are on a low income or pay for more than three prescription items in three months, or eleven items in twelve months, you could save money on your prescriptions with a Prescription Prepayment Certificate. People on a low income could be entitled to help with costs or free prescriptions through the low-income scheme, depending on your circumstances. Check your eligibility at www.nhsbsa.nhs.uk/check or find out more at www.nhsbsa.nhs.uk/ppc.
- Your local pharmacy can offer advice and treatment for lots of minor illnesses and ailments – without the need for an appointment!
- Dental support can be accessed via the Greater Manchester dental helpline (0333 332 3800), available from 8am to 10pm every day, including weekends and bank holidays for those who need help urgently when their practice is closed, or do not have a regular dentist.
- Greater Manchester’s Urgent Eye Care Service can provide assessments and treatment quickly if a sudden change in vision, red or painful eyes or new flashes or floaters are seen. This is a free NHS service, made up of local optician teams. Available to anyone registered with a Greater Manchester GP. To find out more, visit www.primaryeyecare.co.uk
- Foodbanks – There are lots of foodbanks across Greater Manchester. Many of these services offer more than just food, some may offer support around mental health and wellbeing, food parcels, financial advice and support, community ran groups and much more. For support in your local area, visit www.greatermanchester-ca.gov.uk/helping-hand/food.
- Mental health crisis support – Free, 24/7 mental health crisis support is available across Greater Manchester. If you feel you need mental health support, please contact one of these 24/7 helplines – they’re available to anyone of any age:
For Bolton, Manchester, Salford, Trafford and Wigan residents, call 0800 953 0285.
- For Bury, Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale, Oldham, Stockport, Tameside and Glossop the number is 0800 014 9995.
- Bereavement support – If you have been bereaved and need support or advice, call the Greater Manchester Bereavement Service on 0161 983 0902 or visit www.greater-manchester-bereavement-service.org.uk. This service is available for anyone living or working in Greater Manchester who has been bereaved or affected by a death by whatever cause, no matter how long ago.
- Loneliness and social isolation support (Chatty Cafes) – The Chatty Café Scheme is a non-profit organisation tackling loneliness and offers three services designed to reduce loneliness and/or social isolation. They include face to face meet ups at venues offering ‘Chatter and Natter’ tables where customers can get together and have a chat, virtual sessions, and a telephone service. For more information or to find your local Chatty Café visit www.thechattycafescheme.co.uk.
- Free digital mental wellbeing support – Access free, safe, and anonymous professional support online. There are no waiting lists for support and no referral needed. Access to these platforms is available instantly 24/7. Support available includes: Live chat or messaging with qualified mental health professionals; self-help tools and activities; Visit Kooth (for ages 10 to 25) www.kooth.com or Qwell (for ages 26+) and www.qwell.io/.
You can also access SilverCloud, an online therapy programme for adults proven to help with stress, anxiety, low-mood and depression.
- SilverCloud for adults 16yrs +
- Supporting an Anxious Child (for parents and carers of children aged 5 to 11)
- Supporting and Anxious Teen (for parents and carers of teenagers aged 12 to 18)
You can access these programme here gm.silvercloudhealth.com/signup.
As always the first port of call for non-emergency health needs should be NHS 111 Online or call 111.